winter

Fear! The Rock

 

spruce

The boys and I were skiing like Jean Claude Killy, maneuvering the knolls of Spruce Mt Ski Slope. We all had conglomerated at the top of the slope. One of the boys took charge at the moment. Ok I’m going first, everyone follow me, ok? We are going to hit the “Rock”. Being only a ten year old at the time the Rock seemed like a very scary thing to do. I can remember the bigger kids hitting the Rock and flying the distance of Lucien’s Field. Some boys tried to do tricks in the air but the skis back in those days had the cable that went around the backside of the ski boot and snap down binding on the front above your toe. The problem was the attachment point on the back of your heel. Sometimes the spring would wear out and the boot was not secure enough on the ski. When a lad would jump the spring would let go and you would either eat snow or have a yard sale. The Yard Sale, is when you lose everything on you. You lose skis, boots, hat, goggles, poles and your dignity. You might as well sell everything.

Here we go, Ron starting at the front of the pack of boys. Yahoo is heard from all the skiers, I’m still thinking I am Jean Claude Killy, or Billy the Kid. We get down into a tuck, lowering our resistance. More speed! someone hollers out. We are cruising now and the Rock is getting close. Fooosh! One skier makes it across the top of the “Rock”. The other boys ahead of me are mid air when Warren, The manager of the hill hollers out my name. Hey You! Pointing a finger at me, I’m watching him as I was in mid air. Being the wise arse I was back in the day, I try to do a Daffy Duck. My ski pops off and I said my first swear word ever. Oh CRAP! I really think I shit my pants at this moment. The ground I hit was frozen ice, my body just kept tumbling down to the Flats of the Orchard Trail. I lie there, still for a moment, lungs only partially functioning. Standing above me holler my name was Warren. I thought I was seeing a beautiful Movie Star, Marilyn Monroe above me, kissing life back to me. Things were not so foggy now, I coughed, standing upright above me was Warren. “You are coming down to the Barn right now,” he stated sternly. “In an emergency sled,” like it was a threat of some kind. I was wrapped up real cozy in a felt blanket, donated from the local paper mill. Warren put his finger in my face and told me sternly. “YOU ARE BANNED FOR THE SEASON,”. I was so devastated, my friends were all going to be able to ski, I was to be stuck watching,” I LOVE LUCY,” or “GILLIGANS ISLAND,” all day.

The “Rock” was destroyed or pushed into the bushes after these adventures. Just remember that taking chances do have consequences. Sometimes an exciting result can happen if things go your way. Warren was a real person and the kids and I skied the small mountain day and night during the winter month. I’m sure most children of these local communities have stories just like I depicted in this story. Memories are etched forever. Here is a link to the slope that still does exist. Rope tows. http://sprucemountain.org   D.H.Bilodeau 2016

Christmas Age Calculation

tree xmas

 

I base my age on how many Christmas events I have been through. I can remember mom and dad holding us twins in their arms so we could see the lights on the tree. I remember the years my brothers, two older than my twin and I, were getting matchbox cars and us twins only received a plastic toy which made noises. I remember going out with our dad, trucking through the snow to find a spruce or fir. Those days were so hard.

My memory brings me to the time my mother made meat pies for Xmas and I got sick after eating it. I also remember the time my twin and I got Rock-em-sock-em Robots. Boy did we have fun with that. I remember my brother and I receiving baseball gloves from Wilsons Store, the tag still left on them. I recall the Christmas Mom told dad that she couldn’t truck out through the snow anymore, it was getting to be too much for her. Time is changing and I’m doing calculations of my own age.

I must be in my teen years, well my twin too. There is the year that the new tree comes in. There is no smell to the tree. The siblings and I, start touching the tree. The tree kind of looks real but has no smell. Interesting concept, fake Christmas. The gifts are unwrapped this year and my brothers and I received some matching pajamas.

My Dad this year tells mom he is going out to get a real tree this year. The boys all jump in the International Scout we have. My Dad drives up the road and pulls into “Dons Xmas Tree Farm”. The boys and I are not that excited about getting a tree from a farm. This is the first time I noticed that Dad is getting older. The tree hauling is just getting to be too much for him.

Another few years go by and a few meat pies and homemade candy. My oldest brother is now an adult. My age is calculating to be in my late teens. I have realized by this point that all I have to do is look back, dwell upon, checking every Christmas event and I can find my age. I since have dropped my regular birth date because it hasn’t been a good reminder. I wanted really happy moments and Xmas was a good reminder of time.

My mother and father set the tree up again. One sibling is in California and one is in Minnesota. It is only my twin brother and I this year. Mom tells us it is ok not to wear our matching pajama’s this Christmas. Time sure is flying and a lot of tree setup’s for my dad. Mom cannot help with the tree anymore with her being lame all the time.  No meat pies this year or homemade candy.

This year my folks tell us they are moving to Florida in the winter. I’m thinking what no Christmas with us? I was devastated by this announcement but I fully understand. Time is changing, people are aging. I know my age is calculating out to be and adult now. My brothers and I meet back again at the house, our parents are not present. My oldest brother mention’s to the rest of us about going out and cutting down a real tree. We all agreed with his thought. We made it happen and all of us siblings enjoyed the scent of a real tree.

I know my age is getting older, I have children of my own. They are calculating their own age. This program has now been set in motion for all my children’s children. Mom and Dad are not coming home anymore. They have set their own time zone and marked their own calendar’s of life. I have marked my own this year. I started making meat pies now for my own children, candy to be bought. I know the rock-em-sock-em Robots are long tucked away in some open landfill, between tires and old junk cars, at the bottom of the pile.

I am told this year that we have grandchildren to be happy for. I now have a reason to move on with this cycle of life. I will start this week to train the young ones of this new calculation of age. I look back at this great life of mine and know that many Christmases have been etched into my memory bank. I can be happy that I have been witness to a wonderful holiday. I’m very thankful to have family to carry on. I’m glad I don’t have to go out and cut down Christmas trees anymore, electing for a fake one. The smell of the real tree is gone. My son tells me he is going out to cut down a real tree for his own house this season. I know my age is calculating, clicking away, I’m marking the calendar.

D.H.Bilodeau 2015

The Smart One’s

 

 

 

 

The smart ones. I cannot remember what the year was but it was time to take the ice shack off Brettuns Pond. I came over with my dad and we met up with my uncle Maurice who lived right next to the lake. I was still a teenager and full of piss and vinegar.  The problem that existed was the ice shack was way out toward the middle of the lake and in probably two and a half feet of slush. The slush was surrounding the ice shack. Being with the two smart guys, I was instructed to go out and tie a rope around the structure. They coiled the dryer rope around my shoulder.  I went to be the hook up man, tying it down for a pull. We didn’t have walkie talkies back then so hollering was a must. My dad and his brother used hand signals which they learned in the paper mills. I was looking up and my uncle is pointing this way,  my Dad is pointing the other way. I later found out this means pissing it in or out the deckle on a paper machine, or the edge of the paper. So my journey didn’t go off without some issues. During my excursion I slipped and fell, completely soaking my backside. It was a rather cool day so I was starting to get very chilled. I looked out and both my dad and uncle are sipping on a glass of snake bite they called it. I finally made it to the shack and secured everything. I look up and see the hand signs again. This time I understand they want me to get the hell out of the way. Ok, No problem, I give them both the piss in and piss out instructions. I looked out and both my dads International Scout and my uncles Dodge Ram Truck are pulling from the shore. They were taking the stretch out of the rope. Both vehicles have now gone the length of the driveway and not an inch of shack has moved. This is not going to be good, some smarts coming out of me at this point. It happened, SNAP, POING! The rope broke and like a sling shot it went completely to shore. The SMART ONES didn’t figure on this . Sip of the snake bite again, scratch of the chin from uncle Maurice. Lets do it again,they replied. I went again and this time they put block and tackle on a large spruce tree. Who knows, maybe this was the smartest thing of the day. I walked out, not falling I must add. I hooked the rope on again, gave the hand signals and off they went, two trucks hauling ass. POING- PING! The rope snapped again. I came back to the shore, again to meet up with them. I needed to find out what the third plan was. Can you make it again son? I replied no. They both looked at each other and looked at the level of the snake bite in their glasses. Both of them nodded in agreement that it was time to give up. This was the smartest thing I saw all that day. Who am I to decide when enough is enough, I respected my elders and would do anything for these two men. Good Day folks. D.H.Bilodeau 2015

The Solitude of Writing

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Nothing like early morning hours and writing. The solitude I get when the house is quiet and I’m sitting here next to the fire, well pellet stove. The German Shepard is all curled up on his couch, snuggled in for a quick nap. The holiday Christmas is coming up real soon, I need to get myself motivated to go to the big city and buy some gifts for the family. I live in a small town and to find any shopping malls one has to travel thirty minutes north or south to find any half decent shops. That is alright with me, stay away from the city limits, on the county line either direction. Anyhow, I must find the strength to move forward so I can get the shopping experience completed. The rest of my worries at the moment, is that my own children are healthy for the holiday’s. There is a lot of sickness going on around these neck of the woods, Maine. I have to knock on wood, so far, cross my fingers, I have stayed healthy so far. I usually eat those words. Did I mention the solitude I’m having at the moment. One can write from the mind with ease. The mind needs an outlet, a place to discharge its thoughts, I found this in writing. Oh, where did that scratch come from on my right hand, never noticed it before. Oh yes that was from wiring the service box in the cellar the other day. A wire snuck up and got me, darn those wires hurt. Oh did I mention that Christmas is coming up real fast and that I got to get a move on? Oh well, maybe I did mention that. The weather in Maine, or Central Maine has been moderate. We have had a few snow storms but rain has been following these and melting most of it. The snowmobile riders are not happy, at least in this part of Maine. I guess the Northern part of the State is getting a good amount of snow and the Southern Part is probably bare of snow. We have been getting days of freezing rain and this has made the roads very slippery. Darn itch in my ear, nothing to scratch it with. My fingers are too big to fit into the canal, guess I will have to go upstairs and find a Q-tip. Why did I get up at 0230 hrs Local EST? No reason, other than the fact I was not tired and had a little hunger thing going on, also the coffee kick needed to be taking care of. I will take a nap later today, maybe go lay back down in a few. I did however find a great morning of writing. I will find something to take care of the rest of my day for sure. Enjoy your work day folks, I might be shopping today. Happy holiday’s

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

Winter Bliss

maine pic

Oh my aching back. The de-winterization process is what I call it. Here in Maine we had our first real snow storm and it was a pretty good one or bad one. It all depends on how you look at it. Mainers all around are waiting for winter in different ways. My spouse looks at the beauty of it all. I see red and only red. What it means to me has me really become a confusing mess in my little brain. I have to clean both trucks off then scrape the windshield. I then have to get the old plow truck running which gives me troubles every time I try to use it. I have to jump start it, there must be a ground in there somewhere but it is old right? I then clean the driveway with the old truck stalling a few times. Then I have to get the snowblower running which gives me a headache as well. Usually after getting it started then proceeding to clean the walkways I always seem to hit a rock on the first few storms. The shear pins break and then I have to do some mechanical work to get new pins installed. After finishing the process of driveway erratication and walkway cleaning I proceed to clean the large deck we have. This is quite a process which usually takes a toll on my back. I’m glad my spouse came out to help me. It really is pretty around here in Maine with the snow but you can see how one might tend to start disliking the winter process. If we get anymore snow than what just landed it will be time to clean the roofs. All I see around here is work, work, and more work. Where is the winter wonderland, I guess I missed that boat. Enjoy your day folks and I hope you have had time to digest that turkey dinner. Bilodeau,D.H. 2014